Artist: Dulce Soledad Ibarra
Media: Sculpture, found objects and assemblage
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov West Gallery
Dulce was originally from Chino, California. She was planning to be a painting major but got bored of 2-D, canvas and paint only. She began trying to think outside the box, using paper as paint instead to make her art more 3-D. She would create paper mache then pinatas then she eventually decided there was no point in having a canvas any longer for herself, and went to sculpture. She is in her last year at the School of Art where she will graduate with a BFA in sculpture. After graduation, she plans to apply to grad school and further her knowledge, and continue making art.
Ibarra’s exhibit “Recuerdos” is all about remembering her aunt. Her aunt was a caretaker that helped raise the artist and her siblings. Every object in there once belonged to her aunt, who the artist described as someone who liked to hoard things. In Ibarra’s art, she is inspired by such topics as survivor’s guilt, immigrants, the trauma of coming to the U.S. illegally and the obstacle and difficulty it takes to stay here. For the artist, memories aren’t just the materialistic items her aunt left behind, but it is also an invisible presence of her aunt that she sometimes still feels is here. There is a different vibe with the objects at the art gallery than at her home. Here, people don’t touch the objects as if it’s too sad to do so, or it’ll be disrespectful. It also isn’t a room, the art gallery is just space. For the artist, it’s weird to see her aunt’s belonging in the middle of the room where you can walk around it and get a full 360 view of the items.
All of the furnishings that were her aunts were all painted yellow by the artist. It’s color coding. The yellow interpretation of the room was made specifically for her aunt’s stuff after she passed and her father created this room just for her stuff and painted it yellow. Yellow to Ibarra, is also this alarming color, and the closest color to gold. There is also a hazardousness to the color yellow also. There is a calendar hanging pinned to one of the cabinets with the year 2013 on it. It is sentimental because it was the last calendar her aunt owned and it was also the year she passed. Her aunt also had music boxes which the artist made songs for in them. Ibarra also wasn’t trying to recreate how her aunt’s room looked back home. She wasn’t trying to remember how the room looked, but how it felt instead, and to her, that felt like a fantasy land. She thought of stacking and exaggeration to compile everything in.
As soon as I walked in, I instantly was intrigued by the color yellow everywhere. The dolls hanging on the top of one of the furniture also captured my attention. There was so many little details of objects all over the place, it would have taken more than the 15 minutes I spent in there to really look at it all. If I am also being honest with myself, I felt disturbed a little. It didn’t feel right to me looking at all these items that were once this woman who I have not the slightest clue except what the artist had told me about, which was not a lot. I felt wrong entering her life and to me it seemed, evading. It was also hard because you come out, and you begin thinking about death, the death of yourself and the others you love. Death is inevitable, sure you’ll have the pieces and items that made them who they are, but you’ll never get them back once death comes.